Do not eat of an animal that dies of natural causes

The Literal Commandment

You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk." (Deuteronomy 14:21)

 

The literal commandment is that we are not to eat anything that dies of itself (i.e. of natural causes).

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Some have asked about Mark 7:19. Messiah was speaking of ritual impurity resulting from eating bread with unwashed hands. We recommend this detailed study of that passage if you have additional questions.

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah is the bread of life: He is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.

Any meat we eat for physical nourishment is in some small way symbolic of Messiah who nourishes us spiritually. He is alive and not dead. Though He died, He has risen. When He died, it was not a natural death and thus we should not eat of animals that die of themselves because Messiah did not.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

We know that Messiah did not sin (Hebrews 4:15) and so we know Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not eating of an animal that died of natural causes.

 

Traditional Observance

Traditional observance of this commandment is found in its literal sense: not eating of an animal that dies of natural causes.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should not eat of an animal that dies of natural causes.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 188
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 5
  • Mishneh Torah Book Holiness
  • Mishneh Torah Category 26- Forbidden Foods
  • Reference Deuteronomy 14:21
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 14
  • Verse 21
  • English You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
  • Hebrew כא לֹא תֹאכְלוּ כָל-נְבֵלָה לַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר-בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ תִּתְּנֶנָּה וַאֲכָלָהּ, אוֹ מָכֹר לְנָכְרִי--כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; לֹא-תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי, בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ. {פ}
  • Greek 21 πᾶν θνησιμαῖον οὐ φάγεσθε· τῷ παροίκῳ τῷ ἐν ταῖς πόλεσίν σου δοθήσεται, καὶ φάγεται, ἢ ἀποδώσῃ τῷ ἀλλοτρίῳ· ὅτι λαὸς ἅγιος εἶ κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ σου. --οὐχ ἑψήσεις ἄρνα ἐν γάλακτι μητρὸς αὐτοῦ.
  • Parashah 47- Re'eh
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 472
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to eat the flesh of any kosher animal that died of itself
  • Category Food
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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